After months of watching ski movies, reading ski magazines, attending ski shows and talking nothing but winter, it was time to boot up for the first day of the season. I'll be honest that after many years I might be guilty of sometimes taking this incredible place for granted. Being able to wake up, walk to the office, skip to the locker room and load up the chair within 10 minutes can make it so easy, I forget how good I've got it. But last night, while winding down to sleep, my thoughts wandered of how it used to feel the night before a cherished ski day when I was younger, how the gear would be laid out, maybe even tried on in the living room, come on, who hasn't clicked into their bindings inside before, admit it.
Well as I walked to the office, looking up at the white mountain, seeing the frosty flakes of snow blowing on Andesite, that ironically look like the steaming hot spots of Yellowstone, I immediately was reminded of how lucky I am, and how grateful I should be. What better feeling to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day.
Now the first day does not come without a few hitches, both myself and Chad "Junk Show" Jones fumbled around forgetting our passes, then gloves, then cameras, but ultimately with the kinks worked out, we loaded up on Swifty. We were joined on the quad by a friendly gentleman from Minnesota, who was as eager as us to ski. After telling our stories we unloaded the chair and Chad and I stopped to take photos of everyone's smiling and familiar faces as they neared the top station. As we readied ourselves to ride, "Tele Taylor" and "Controller Courtney" came cruising up and we decided to ride down together.
The upper part of Mr. K and Jay Walk is all natural snow and I was impressed with the coverage, but even more impressed to see the major improvements the mountain crew did this summer by widening Jay Walk and grading out a more consistent fall line that includes no skating. It only got better as the old drop-off toward the triple chair was also made wider and buttered out with an easier slope angle. It sure is funny being on skis again, which I can only equate to the most boring cliche of "just like riding a bike". It hadn't felt like I missed a day since skiing powder in April.
We savored the mountain, stopping often to joke and laugh, particularly when meeting seasoned mountain ops pros who were trying to make sense of Taylor's new tele set-up by giving him grief. The mountain was skiing well and even with early season conditions of occasional obstacles, it ranks just as fun as late December Challenger and Tram laps, after all, we're skiing on Thanksgiving Day.
We explored over on Explorer and had the fun we went out to get for November turns. I'll be back at it again soon enough and as more snow flies, more terrain will get open. Then with each day, then week, then month, there'll be more experiences and adventures that I hadn't done since the year before. And for each and every day I have on skis from here on out, I'll be reminded all over again of how thankful I should be.
We'll see you out there,